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Breast Biopsy of the Lump

Aug 17, 2007
As soon as a breast lump or breast abnormality has been detected, Doctor may want to conduct a breast biopsy. This procedure involves taking sample tissue from the doubtful area to determine whether the breast lump is cancerous.
There are several kinds of breast biopsy techniques, and each one has advantages and disadvantages.

Fine-needle aspiration During a fine-needle aspiration, the surgeon will put a thin needle through the skin and into the lump. Cells will be drawn into the needle, and given to a pathologist to look at under a microscope. Needle aspiration might also be done to determine if the lump is solid or liquid (a cyst). If the lump is a cyst, after the fluid has been removed, the cyst will collapse and disappear. If there is no fluid, and the tissue in the lump is too hard to draw into the needle, then you may need a different type of biopsy, in order to get the best results.

A core needle biopsy makes use of a large needle fitted with a special tip. The needle goes through the skin to the lump or area to take out a sample of tissue about the size of a pencil lead. A core needle biopsy can also be done using a suction unit that gently removes a larger sample of tissue.
A stereo tactic biopsy checks a lump that cannot be felt on breast examination but is seen on mammogram or ultrasound. It makes use of a special type of X-ray that can find the area of the breast where the biopsy sample will be taken. A small incision is then made in the skin of the breast, and a needle is guided by the X-ray to the biopsy site to take a tissue sample. Stereo tactic biopsy is not be appropriate for all types of breast lumps.

An open biopsy makes a cut in the skin and removes a sample of the lump or the entire lump. If your doctor cannot feel a lump, a needle can be put in the suspicious area during a mammogram done just before surgery. The probe then guides your doctor to the suspicious area to take a biopsy sample.

If the area of interest cannot be felt or is difficult to find, x-ray or ultrasound imaging may be used to help locate it. For an imaging-guided needle biopsy, imaging is used at the same time as the biopsy. For an open biopsy that requires imaging, the area of interest is marked with a needle or wire prior to surgery.

You will feel only a quick sting from the needle if you have a local anesthetic to numb the skin. You may feel some pressure when the biopsy needle is put in. After a fine-needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, or stereotactic biopsy, the site may be tender for 2 to 3 days.
During a stereotactic biopsy, it may be hard to lie still during the biopsy. For 24 hours after the biopsy, do not do any heavy lifting or other activities that stretch or pull the muscles of your chest.

If you have general anesthesia for an open breast biopsy, you will not be awake during the biopsy. After you wake up, the area may be numb from a local anesthetic that was put in the biopsy site. You will also feel sleepy for several hours.

For 1 to 2 days after an open biopsy, you may feel tired. You may also have a mild sore throat from the tube that was used to help you breathe during the biopsy. Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water may help with the sore throat.

After an open biopsy, your breast may feel tender, firm, swollen, and bruised. The tenderness should go away in about a week, and the bruising fades within 2 weeks. However, the firmness and swelling may last for 6 to 8 weeks. You can wear a bra or sports bra for support for 2 to 3 days after the biopsy. Do not do any heavy lifting or other activities that stretch or pull the muscles of your chest.
About the Author
Keith Londrie II is a well known author. For more information on treating breast cancer, please visit Treat Breast Cancer for a wealth of information. You may also want to visit keith's own web site at http://keithlondrie.com/
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